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Posts from the ‘Raleigh’ Category

Know Your Course

Tomorrow is my last long run before my race November 4th. The plan is 23 miles and I’m crossing my fingers, legs, knees, ankles, and toes that I can meet that goal. My leg still feels off so I’m icing it right now and have already taken two Advil. Please running gods, be with me tomorrow.

I had been debating where to run tomorrow morning – the nice flat Tobacco Trail or a significant portion of the actual marathon course, which is anything but flat. One way is the easy way and the other way is the hard way. I realize what an advantage it is that the course runs practically by my front door so I’m taking the harder route. It’s definitely more difficult but it gets me prepared for the reality that I’ll be facing 3 weeks from now – a challenging 26.2 miles.

A few weeks ago I read a blog post by Predawn Runner about the benefits of scouting out the course beforehand. If you can drive the course great. But if you can run it – even better. In addition to really learning the course, PDR suggests that a few other advantages are testing the hills, looking for tangents, developing your mental game, and visualization. You can read more about these advantages here.

This marathon season I’ve been all about the mind game and how to get it right for race day. I’ve already divided up the course into three parts. The exciting first part (about 10 miles), the lonely tough miles (15 miles on the greenway), and the last mile from the greenway to NC State’s bell tower. Tomorrow I’m going to work on the lonely 15 miles part of the course. What am I going to think about? What is going to keep me motivated? What world problems am I going to solve? 🙂 I like knowing what to expect so I think it’s  good idea to be as familiar with the course as possible. And of course a little Eminem will keep me motivated but I need to know how I’m going to handle the hard part. Tomorrow we shall see…


Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Raleigh, NC
Photo Source: Ted, Wikimedia Commons

Dear Running…

My scheduled run this morning was a 14 miler with 13.1 miles at half marathon race pace. Yesterday I iced, stretched, foam rolled, and rested but I still wasn’t sure if I would be able to get in the miles today. Instead of my normal pre long run ritual on Friday night, Mario and I went out for a night on the town. Luckily, I still managed to get up at 6am and put on my running clothes. I didn’t have anything to eat beforehand (practicing my carb depleting), only water and coffee. I just wanted to get out the door and see how my leg felt.

Throughout my run, my leg ached but it was nothing that would make me cut my run short. I stopped and stretched it every now and then and I tried not to worry about the 13 miles at race pace. While I was out there running, I realized what an overall appreciation I have for running. Nothing makes me feel more like myself than when I’m outside, just running. (I completely understand how Forrest Gump felt when he said “I just felt like running”.) Whenever I’m not running because of an injury or there aren’t enough hours in the day, I really suffer mentally. Granted, I am very thankful for my cross training, but it just isn’t the same. Running makes me feel like me.

During my run this morning, I decided to write running a letter. Running needs to know how much I appreciate it. Call me cheesy or call me silly, but I think the other runners of the world know where I’m coming from. Here you go – my love letter to running 🙂

Dear Running,

I want to let you know that I think about you all the time. Not just one in a while, but ALL the time. Most of what I do in any given day, is done with you in mind. My meals are planned around you, my Friday nights are planned around you, and at least one day of the weekend, is devoted entirely to you. Today I tried to remember what I did on Saturdays before we met, and I can’t seem to remember. Truth be told, I don’t think I want to remember.

I realize from time to time, our relationship can be rocky. Sometimes I take you for granted, and I push a little too hard.  It’s obvious you don’t like it because you go away for a few weeks. For all the times I have mistreated you, I am sorry. But we are in this relationship together, and I am always learning how to make us work best. And isn’t that how any good relationship works? We stick together through the good and the bad.

Today you reminded me of why I love you so much. After being apart for two weeks, our 14 miler was just like old times. Nothing makes me feel freer, more like myself, or happier than finding our stride and effortlessly running the streets of Raleigh. Because of you, I believe in the power I have to do amazing things. You have given me the strength and the confidence to take on this thing we call life. Thank you.

As the years go by, I know our relationship will change. Things will happen and we might not be able to spend so much time together. That’s okay because I know you’ll always be there. And we may not be able to set the PRs that we did in our younger years, but our relationship will be on a different level. A more mature level. I look forward to growing old with you.

I have only known you for 11 years and they have been the best 11 years of my life. You helped me to realize who I am as a person and taught me a thing or two about life. For that, I am forever grateful. I’m looking forward to our next 50+ years together. Together, we will be amazing,

Much Love,



After 2 1/2 weeks of no running, I was happy with this. I got in a few miles at 7:00 and a few at 6:53. It was a BEAUTIFUL day here in Raleigh!!


Next week is my last 22 miler before race day. Fingers crossed I can stay healthy!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


City of Oaks Marathon

Today is October 4, 2012 and that means one month from today, November 4, 2012, is the City of Oaks Marathon. As I mentioned a few monts ago, after I ran this race in 2009, I vowed never to do it again. Oh well, never say never.

Raleigh Running Outfitters posted this video on their Facebook page today of the course. It got me excited and luckily, you can’t really tell the hills from the video 🙂

Even though I know  the course is hilly, I went to Marathon Guide to see what others had to say. Here are some of the comments:

Going into the race, I expected a lot of hills. Now that I have finished the race, I got what I expected. This course is very hilly. I have run Boston several times, and I truly believe this course is MUCH tougher but very similar to Boston.

The course is very difficult; there are several very long uphills throughout the race, so make sure you can handle those before signing up

If you’ve read anything about this race, you already know what you’re facing: hills throughout the course. The hills present a nice added challenge to the already challenging goal of running a marathon. This was probably the hilliest course I’ve run that didn’t have ‘Mountain’ in the title.

COURSE: Absolutely fantastic. A great mix of urban and scenic. Some challenging climbs, but I would much rather have a pretty course than something flat and boring. The three miles in Umstead were some of my favorites. The half runners missed some of the best parts.

The route has changed this year and is suppose to be flatter. I ran part of the “flatter” course a few Saturdays ago and in my humble opinion, it’s still pretty darn hilly.

This year will be the sixth year for the City of Oaks Marathon. The course record for the men is 2:29:33 and for the women is 2:55:22. Last year my running idol Kelcey Carlson won second place in 3:05:13. I’m hoping she will be there again this year – she always inspires me 🙂

I’m ready for November 5, 2012. I think I might eat pizza!

My Running Inspiration – Local New Reporter, Kelcey Carlson


Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running a Hilly Race

I signed up for the City of Oaks Marathon on November 4th.  I’ve run it before and swore I would never do it again.  It was incredibly hilly, pouring down rain, and freezing cold.  I think it took me about 2 months to fully recover.  Well anyway, in the name of a new challenge I signed up for it again.  After all, the website says it’s a “flatter course.”

I have the fortune of living right along the course so I checked out the map this morning, and planned out my tempo run. I might as well become as familiar as possible with the course since I have the opportunity. I did my two mile warm up and then started my tempo pace, 7:05/mile.  Yeah, that was not happening. I couldn’t make myself hit that pace no matter how hard I tried. Why? Because after every small stretch of flat road, there was a long ascending climb.  Not to mention it was over 80 degrees and near 100% humidity.  I thought to myself, oh my, what have I gotten myself into?  But then I came to a realization. I can run these hills every single day if I want.  I can master them. They are right out my front door so just embrace them.

Did you know…

Physiologically speaking, hill running…
1) Increases your aerobic capacity that enables you to use less oxygen at increasingly longer distances.
2) Improves your running economy that enables you to use less oxygen to run at a faster pace.
3) Increases your stamina that enables you to run farther at a given pace.
4) Builds strength in your gluteals (buttock), quadriceps (front of thigh), gastrocnemius (upper calf), and soleus (lower calf) muscles.

Biomechanically speaking, hill running…
1) Improves your stride length (from uphill running) and your stride frequency (from downhill running).
2) Increases your ankle flexion that enables you to “pop” off the ground more quickly, so that you can spend less time on the ground and more time in the air.
3) Teaches you how to run relaxed.

-Mindy Solkin

This article has three great hill workouts as well as exercises to strengthen your calves and hamstrings. It’s super important to strengthen these muscles because hill running causes them to fatigue quickly.  (In my opinion, hills cause the entire body to fatigue a little more quickly, but that’s just me.)

I’m actually very thankful that I live right along the course and can do my long runs on these hills.  Not only will it help prepare me physically, but it will also help me mentally.  If I know what to expect, I can run a smarter race.  Here’s to the hills – may I run them, love them, and master them!


My sister cheering me on during the 2009 City of Oaks Marathon. She runs in heels!



Happy Trails and Happy Running,


A Run through Raleigh, NC

Today’s blog post is a little different than normal.  I mentioned on Friday that I would be writing a post for A Good Run, featuring some cool places in Raleigh, NC.  Well today is the day I get to show off my fabulous city.  Check it out here.  It was impossible to include all the people I am thankful for along the various stops.  But I do want the following people to know that I am extremely grateful to have you in my life: Mom, Dad, Toni, Mario, Heidi, my grandparents, all of my other family members, my Run Inspired. chicas, my favorite neighbors – Alysha, Geoff, Susan, Daryl, Amie, and Brian, the Diaz family, Sara, Amber, my restaurant club chicas, my students, my blogosphere friends, my Google+ friends,  and the list could go on forever.  Thank you all for keeping me motivated and  inspired.

Thank you to all the fabulous people in my life!!
And yes, I realize the letters aren’t exactly straight – I tried my best though!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


And make sure you go read the blog!!

The Metronome

Well I officially completed my first ChiRunning class and man I am tired!  Not because it was physically exhausting but because it was five hours in 100+ degrees.  And I have a little sunburn to top it off.  Other than the extremely uncomfortable temperatures it was a very interesting and effective class.  I will do a later blog post about the class (running short on time today), but I wanted to write about one of the tools we used today – the metronome.

How does a metronome help with running?

According to Danny Dreyer’s blog (the founder of ChiRunning), the body thrives off of rhythm.  The rhythm of your running is your running cadence – the numbers of strides you take per minute.  Having consistency with that rhythm can be extremely beneficial to your running form.  Dreyer introduced the use of a metronome into his ChiRunning classes to help create and maintain this steady rhythm.  A metronome is a “device that produces regular, metrical ticks (beats, clicks).”  It keeps you running with a steady cadence. According to Dreyer, “when your cadence becomes a naturally sustained rhythm, it requires that you vary your stride length when you’re running at different speeds.”  Most people have a cadence of 85-90 strides per minute (or 170 – 180 steps per minute).

If you already have a metronome and want some tips to start using it, here are some easy to follow directions.  There are also quite a few metronome apps that you can check out as well.  Most of them do cost money and are more for music, but they might have some handy features for runners. This is the one we were using today during our class and it is about $20.  Personally, I think that beeping would drive me a little on the loca side, so I might just stick to songs that are about my cadence. has some great suggestions for whatever your rhythm may be.

Overall, I would say it was a successful class and I’m glad I went.  Now I can share some of my new found knowledge with my running club ladies.  I might just have to sign up for ChiRunning 2 🙂

Stay cool everyone!!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,



This is the metronome we used in class today.

A Good Run

A while back I received an email from a fellow blogger, asking if I wanted to take part in his running project, A Good Run.  I felt super important because out of the many bloggers in NC, he asked me.  (Maybe the other NC peeps had been too busy, but I was happy nonetheless.)  Well my big part in this project is coming up on Monday and I wanted to share with you all a little about his project.  Of course I know what I signed up for, but I wanted to know a little more about the history of this project.  So today, that is the direction I am taking my question…

What is the history of A Good Run?

A Good Run is a running project that gets people to run their city and highlight local landmarks , thank those people who are important in their lives, share it with others, and support a cause that is important to them.  Steve Good, who is also the founder of GrassrootGive , started this project after running 65 miles in 8 states in 8 days. He only spent $65 in transportation costs, and raised over $1500 for the Iron Phi program, which benefits ALS.  His is now challenging people to do the same… run their city for a cause, thank those people who are important to them, and then share their route with others.

Basically what I’ll be doing this weekend is running a route in Raleigh and stopping at my favorite landmarks along the way (stores, restaurants, museums, etc.).  Mario will take a picture of me at each stop and then I’ll write a post about the places and why they are important to me.  I will also share a map of the run and that way if anyone visits the Raleigh area, they will already have a route mapped out that includes some cool places.  Finally, I will mention the charity that is important to me and explain why I am supporting it.  You can read more about it here.

This project will be ongoing until April 29, 2013.  If you want to see what cities have already been featured, check them out here.  It really is a cool way to learn about local places while doing good at the same time.  I’m excited to be a part of this running adventure and to be able to share with others the many things I love about Raleigh.  Oh, and I made the coolest thank you sign for my run.  I am anything but crafty and typically suck at any creative task .  But my sign is fabulous, in a not so crafty kind of way. 🙂

I hope everyone has a great weekend!! I’ll be spending 5 hours outdoors in 100+ degrees for my chi running class tomorrow.  But it’s all in the name of better running form…

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Raleigh, NC. I’m so proud of my photography skills!
All rights reserved.

D1 Sports Training

A few weeks ago I heard about this pretty awesome athletic training facility coming to Raleigh, NC. D1 Training, which has been around since 2002, will be opening a facility in Raleigh at the end of the month. When I checked out their website, I was quite impressed with the intense workouts and kick ass facility. Think a smaller version of a football stadium lined with weights, machines, and cardio equipment. Or just watch this video:

I signed up to learn more about D1, and a few days later Thomas called. He explained more about D1 and invited Mario and me to try out a class the next day. (Even though the facility isn’t open, the trainers are already meeting with some motivated members to work out.) At 6:00 am the following Thursday, Mario and I worked out with Austin. Well, I found new muscles that I never knew existed and five days later, they were still sore.

I thoroughly enjoyed the workout that morning. Sprints, jumps, shuffles, burpees, squats, abs, and only a few one to one and a half minute rest breaks – that’s right up my ally. But perhaps the thing I like most about D1 is that it is a comprehensive facility, suited for the middle school football player just as much as it is for the adult working 40+ hours a week. They have classes and trainers with the sole purpose of helping you become whatever it is you want to become. A high school track star? They do that. A better quarterback? Yep. Or maybe the fittest person you’ve ever been? They do that too. Not only do you get an phenomenal workout, but you also get a nutritionist, a physical therapist, an assessment every two months that analyzes your progress, and a team of people who will help you become your best athlete. Try getting all that with just a personal trainer.

I had some questions about D1 so I sent them to Thomas and he was kind enough to take the time and answer. Here are some other things worth knowing about D1:

  • D1 in Raleigh will open July 23rd at 6330 Mt. Herman Road
  • D1 is for anybody over the age of 7 and who wants to take their fitness to the next level
  • D1 can be described as a “great atmosphere, energetic, fun, and a total body workout. We will tap into muscles you didn’t know existed!” (That is a direct quote and I can assure you this is VERY true)
  • The coaches & trainers at D1 in Raleigh include 4 former college athletes, a Certified Strength Conditioning Specialist (C.S.CS), and a certified yoga and pre natal instructor

As I mentioned earlier, D1 was started in 2002. It currently has 17 facilities across the country, and you can see them all here. Their vision is to “treat and train their clients like they are an elite athlete: planned workouts, nutrition, injury prevention, rehab, and a team environment.” Each D1 location partners with orthopedic firms and pro athletes with ties to the area. The D1 location in Raleigh is co-owned by Phillip Rivers and David Thorton, both NFL football players formerly from the Triangle. Of course I had to ask if Phillip Rivers would be making an appearance. The last time I saw him was when I had front row seats to the 2003 Gator Bowl and NC State beat Notre Dame. If he’s back in the Raleigh area, I want to be there. Well, it turns out he has already been here for a training event in May and plans on coming back with David Thorton in the future. Sweet.

I’m really excited about D1. Raleigh has so many great young athletes and adults who want to be healthier, fitter people. This place can help bring out the best athlete in everyone. And D1 is certainly not your normal gym. It’s slightly on the cooler side. I mean, elite athletes on one side of the field while I’m working out on the other – where else do you get that?

Definitely check out their website if you get a chance, and here are some pictures of other facilities throughout the country:

Photos Courtesy of Thomas Evans

Happy Trails and Happy Running,